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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Human Rights of Stateless People

Monday, March 23, 2015 - 1:30pm
2172 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the human rights of stateless people, people who are not considered a national by any country under the operation of its law.

Statelessness is a global problem that affects at least 10 million people around the world. Lacking nationality, many stateless people are denied their basic human rights and are some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in the world. They do not have the rights of citizens nor even of refugees. Many are unable to access basic services, work legally, register births or marriages, or travel freely. They are also susceptible to arbitrary treatment, exploitation, and labor and sex trafficking.

Statelessness occurs for a variety of reasons, but discrimination is often a root cause. Racial, ethnic or religious discrimination in nationality laws and policies can render people stateless, as, for example, in the cases of the Rohingya people from Burma and Dominicans of Haitian descent. Gender discrimination in birth registration is an issue in over 25 countries, where only men can confer nationality on their children. Syria is one of those countries; as a result, many Syrian children who have lost their fathers in the ongoing armed conflict are at risk of being stateless. Recently, some Gulf States, including Kuwait and Bahrain, have punished political dissidents by taking away their citizenship, thus leaving them stateless.

This hearing will bring together experts to discuss the causes and consequences of statelessness and provide recommendations on what the United States can do to protect stateless people and help eradicate statelessness around the world.

For any questions, please contact Soo Choi (Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Panel I

  • Mr. Simon Henshaw, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Department of State

Panel II

  • Ms. Jana Mason, Senior Advisor, U.S. Government Relations and External Affairs, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    Written testimony
  • Ms. Julia Harrington Reddy, Senior Legal Officer, Equality and Citizenship, Open Society Justice Initiative
    Written testimony
  • Ms. Sarnata Reynolds, Senior Advisor on Human Rights, Refugees International
    Written testimony




114th Congress